Today’s search, notification, and gisting bots offer powerful workflow support — if they are deployed through workstream collaboration tools.
What once may have seemed like a far-flung idea of the future — automated robots that can help workers complete tasks more efficiently — is now a reality. Automated bots are a key feature of today’s industry-leading digital workplace solutions, and organizations are eager to take advantage.
A 2018 Metis Strategy survey found that roughly 75% of CIOs are interested in deploying artificial intelligence tools. In fact, the market for robotic process automation (RPA) specifically has grown about 60% in 2019. For operations-focused organizations, the most exciting potential for bots comes in the form of workstream collaboration solutions.
As suggested by Gartner in The Role of Workstream Collaboration in the New Work Nucleus, digital solutions for workstream collaboration (WSC) are in a large part possible because of technological advancements around AI and automation. Automation provides enormous value by moving tasks, workflow decisions, and other processes away from manual control. By doing so, it not only streamlines activities, but actually makes new functions possible. Meanwhile, “smart” algorithm-based tools provide fast, automatic data processing and analysis solutions. Within WSC tools, these capabilities are leveraged in the form of bots that support various tasks — in particular, search, notification, and gisting bots.
Search bots ensure that specific historical information is immediately and easily retrievable. A major problem with many business IM tools is that they do not preserve discussions or their metadata, making it impossible to refer back to shared information. (If you’re not already logging employee discussions, it’s time to start.) And the data within conversations should not only be persistent, but also highly searchable — and therefore available on demand. Otherwise, your team could get stuck scrolling through logs for key data points, slowing down the decision-making process.
Search bots are a critical part of workstream collaboration because they help ensure that data does not get lost or siloed. Bots should be able to quickly locate necessary data in databases or discussion-rich channels, whether the information is text-based or in a harder-to-parse format. More complex search bots may even be able to trigger actions if they encounter certain data — for example, automatically transferring particular data between different aspects of your digital platform. Search bots offer a great example of an automated function that supports overall workstream success in a simple and powerful way.
Notification bots automatically send users alerts that provide specific data, enabling either increased awareness or action. They can be powerful for providing push notifications within conversation channels or as integrated alerts within the broader workstream collaboration platform. For operational teams dealing with changing conditions, such alerts are critical for workflow success. While more basic alerting tools can quickly lead to alert fatigue, well-built bot-based notifications are more configurable and provide a key way to ensure successful coordination.
With the right bots, notifications within conversations are flexible — they can help catch the attention of specific relevant users or launch activities from within a channel. Depending on your needs, you can build alerts based on content, roles, or any combination of factors. For instance, bots can identify key information from various data inputs and automatically direct significant information to the right users, specific groups, or even individuals within a certain location (as based on a Geographic Information System). When coordinated with a more comprehensive vision for digital transformation, actionable notifications are an invaluable capability in enabling teams to move tasks forward.
To “get the gist” of something means to understand its essential meaning. Similarly, the term “gisting” has arisen a way to describe AI summarization capabilities. In today’s fast-paced operational landscape, there isn’t always time for human users to process and analyze large amounts of data or long conversations — and yet they may need to rapidly respond to or act in accordance with the general meaning of said information. This can occur at every level, from the executive suite to boots-on-the-ground teams. If you’re interested in automatic data processing, gisting is a good place to start.
For instance, when it takes too much time to read an entire discussion thread within a channel, an instant synthesis can be invaluable. When you need to take action quickly without sacrificing insight, a gisting bot can take action. These AI bots can be built to quickly and accurately sum up conversations or data points, translating and condensing that information. The result might be additional (and critical) context for decision-makers in the moment, or it can help team members more easily catch up with discussions after the fact.
The Promise of Workstream Collaboration Bots
The capabilities of today’s search, notification, and gisting bots are undeniably intriguing for CIOs tasked with reimagining their organization’s digital landscape. However, you must be sure you’re implementing bots in the right way to properly take advantage. As noted by Forbes in “The Big RPA Bubble,” you must be clear on when you’re using bots only to automate discrete tasks, in contrast to when bots can actually help transform and redesign your workflow processes.
With purpose-built workstream collaboration tools, you avoid the problems associated with automating many disparate tasks. With a successful unified workspace, you can implement the centralized orchestration that ensures your search, notification, and gisting bots can work together, scale up, and support your operations. To reap the full benefits of bots, seek unified WSC solutions that are capable of leveraging bot capabilities, improving internal processes, and driving your business forward.